When you think of the word Saint, who comes to mind? Perhaps an image of Mary the mother of Jesus or Paul who wrote much of the New Testament. Maybe you think of someone like Augustine or Mother Theresa. Or possibly a football team from New Orleans. Odds are, you didn’t think of yourself.
But perhaps you should have.
We only associate Saints with the dead, halo-wearing religious elite, and we couldn’t be more wrong. A while back I was shocked to find that “Saint” is the primary way the writers of the New Testament refer to followers of Jesus. In fact, the word Saint appears in the New Testament twenty times more frequently than the word Christian!
We should take note.
These first century followers of Jesus—the Saints—were the ones who turned the world upside down by disrupting society’s ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic divides, sharing a message of hope, love, and ultimately, the kingdom. They risked their very lives to spread this gospel. Playing it safe wasn’t an option. And If we are going to claim our place in this post-Christian world, we must follow the early Church’s example and no longer hide within our religious comfort zones.
Saints are people who deconstruct the barriers between the sacred and secular, reclaiming every square inch of God’s good world. They are people who dive into the messiness of our humanity, refusing to leave the marginalized and broken behind. To become a Saint is to embrace a vision that energizes the mundane today, placing a brilliant purpose within the context of our everyday lives.
I am a Saint, and as uncomfortable as it may sound, so are you.
Embracing this identity isn’t about inflating a religious ego. It’s about aligning with who God says you are and actively participating with the kingdom work He is doing in you and through you.
If you want to learn more, check out my book Saints: Becoming More Than “Christians.”